It isn’t often that an opportunity comes along where one person could make a real difference in the survival of a species. But the new PHd opportunity offered by the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment to work on the critically endangered Christmas Island Flying-fox (Pteropus melanomas natalis) does just that.
Christmas Island is one of Australia’s most remote and impressive natural wonders. It is home to the unique annual red crab migration, rare and unusual birds and, until recently, two bat species.
The Christmas Island Flying-fox is now the last remaining bat species on the island and it is in real trouble. The last individual of it’s only other neighboring bat species, the Christmas Island Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus murrayi) was recorded in late August 2009. Two decades earlier the island’s population of pipistrelles had been healthy. However a mix of human impacts and unknown factors on the island lead to the species’ sharp decline and to many scientists dismay, its extinction.
The Christmas Island Flying-fox is now facing a similar uncertain future. The species has declined dramatically in numbers over the last three generations, leading to its listed as Critically Endangered by the Commonwealth Scientific Committee in January 2014. Before we can take actions to help save this species from extinction, we first need to understand which threatening processes, such as habitat alteration, predation and competition from invasive species, are making the greatest impact on the species.
This PHd offers a unique opportunity to someone to make a real impact to a species’ survival and I encourage bat passionate candidates from around the world to apply!